3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 leek, sliced and washed
1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
400g can plum tomatoes in natural juice, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
410g can borlotti or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan, to serve (optional)
(sh)For the salsa verde
40g fresh flatleaf parsley
Dash of red or white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
100ml olive oil
1. Put the oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and rosemary and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Season well.
2. Add the sliced leeks to the pan and mix it all together. Sauté for a further 5 minutes, until the leeks have softened.
3. Add the hot stock to the pan, making sure there’s enough to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, along with the tomato purée and beans. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the beans are heated through and all the vegetables are tender. Discard the herb stalks and season to taste.
5. Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Put the parsley, vinegar and garlic into a food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Pour in the olive oil and whizz again. Season to taste. Tip into a bowl and cover until needed.
6. Divide the minestrone between 6 bowls. Top each with a spoonful of salsa verde, then swirl into the soup with lots of freshly grated Parmesan, if you like.